century association biographical archive

Earliest Members of the Century Association

View all members

Alban Goldsmith


Centurion, 1847–1849

Born 22 March 1795 in possibly Wilmington, Delaware

Died 5 August 1861 in Kingston, New York

Buried Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Proposed by N/A: Founder

Elected 13 January 1847 at age fifty-one

Archivist’s Note: Born Alban Gilpin Smith; he legally changed his name in 1839. Published accounts of his birthplace as Danville, Kentucky, are incorrect, although he resided and practiced medicine there for a time. The likely birthplace of Wilmington, Delaware, is suggested by Quaker records documenting his family’s transfer into Philadelphia from there while he was still an infant. Some sources also give Pennsylvania as his state of birth, although that may refer to the location of his upbringing.

Century Memorial

He lived, and presumably practiced, at 9 Park Place. He was the third surgeon in the United States to remove an ovary. He later was well known for his expertise in genitourinary surgery. He published a pamphlet Lithotripsy or, the Breaking of Stone in the Bladder in 1843, and a text, Diseases of the Genito-urinary Organs, in 1857. The first was an argument in favor, when possible, of breaking up bladder stones so that they could be passed in the urine, instead of removing them surgically. He had been Professor of Surgery at the Medical College of Ohio, then moved to New York where he was Professor of Surgery at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. He was described as a poor teacher but a clever and resourceful surgeon, and his work was called “epoch-making.”

Letters in the Cincinnati Historical Society suggest that Goldsmith was a miniaturist with a lifelong interest in art and that he encouraged promising young artists.

William A. Frosch
“Our Original Amateurs, 2009”